The Global New Light of Myanmar reported that the Ministry of Commerce is currently negotiating with the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Myanmar about exports of fishery products to the Arab kingdom.
In April 2018, following the detection of two prawn diseases in imported marine products, Saudi Arabia had suspended fish and prawn imports from Myanmar. The ban is still ongoing as of today despite the disease not being found anymore and Myanmar reporting so to the WTO.
Before the suspension, Myanmar exports to Saudi Arabia accounted for 30 per cent of its farm-raised fish exports, 40 per cent of rohu exports and 60 per cent of river catfish. Myanmar answered to Saudi Arabia’s queries regarding new regulations to match SA’s standards on cold storages and processing.
The report continued stating that export earnings from the fisheries sector during the period between 1 October and 11 September in the 2019-2020 financial year reached USD 811 million, an increase of USD 120 million from a year ago according to statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce. The export earnings are planned to have doubled by end of current FY compared to 5 years ago (USD 480 million during the 2014-2015 FY).
Myanmar’s fisheries sector is hit hard by the coronavirus fallouts from its traditional Asian clients, and the Ministry of Commerce is endeavouring to explore more fish and seafood foreign markets – EU, US and now SA – to effectively mitigate the impacts caused by the pandemic.